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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  March 19, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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a leadership council of 18, this minister who grew up in the methodist church, his dad was a methodist minister. there was no dissent. those vote was unanimous to stop holding opposite sex marriage until same sex couples can marry. when you see that, it really gives you a lot of confidence and faith in both the citizenry of north carolina and really, everywhere. >> the united methodist church posted a fairly positive story about the church and featured the story on its home page. do you think religious organizations can pave the way here? they said the culture is is already ahead of where the church is, but maybe the church can pave the way for some legal changes. >> that's a great question. and you look at the role of churches and civil rights movement and when you look at the role really of societal movements, they often leap ahead of the law.
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and we're seeing that right now with this is an example. the fact this can happen in winston-salem, again, it's the fifth largest city here in north carolina. you know, this is really unprecedented and you know, among methodist churches, you have some others in places like austin and chicago and of course, california, that that have enacted similar moves like this, but not in the deep south. not in north carolina. this is really important what's happening here. >> give me a brief answer. do you think we'll see marriage equality in your lifetime? >> in north carolina? well, you know, i write about manners, so not a great thing to ask someone their edge, but i'm hopeful that it's coming. >> all right. thank you so very much. >> thank you, michael. >> that's the ed show. the rachel maddow show starts now. thanks to you at home for joining us. the great state of florida does not right now have a lieutenant governor. they have a governor, of course. you know, old rick scott. there is a job in florida called lieutenant governor, but there
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is nobody in that job. the job is vacant. help wanted. last week, governor rick scott is reported to have stared stone faced at the florida press corps roast while poking fun at the tension between him and the lieutenant governor. the joke was supposed to be the lieutenant governor was demanding respect from rick scott. she was dressed up kind of aretha franklin style. what everybody in that room did not know, the lieutenant governor, jennifer carroll, is that she had only hours earlier signed a resignation letter while seated at a small table in her office, then handed it to the general council. florida's lieutenant governor
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had already resigned and they didn't know she was gone. reporters up there, but the lieutenant governor had booked. the next day when the news broke that she had quit, that she had resigned, governor scott issued a statement in which he said that the lieutenant governor had left elected office, left the number two office in the state so that her former association with a certain company would not end up quote distracting from our important work on behalf of florida families. well, the distracts company in question is this. this is the former florida lieutenant governor. and she's appearing in a psa/ad for this distracting company. in the two years proceeding her appearance in the ad, the governor had a pr firm that reported that group was the primary source of income for her
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firm. the group purports to be a charity for america's military veterans. to help veterans struggling with homelessness. it is led by this man, whose title in the group is national commander. his name is jerry bass. if you'd like to see a more recent picture, we have one here in the form of his mug shot. this was taken last week. her association with him and his supposed veterans charity made her continuing in office as florida's lieutenant governor an untenable prospect. jerry bass was arrested last week in florida amid allegations that his group supposedly raising money for veterans was actually doing something else with almost all of the money they raised. in all, nearly 60 people were arrested in this sting. it was a mass raid.
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nearly 60 people arrested. 57 arrest warrants issues around the supposed veterans charity operating in florida. the suspects stand accused of racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering and more. the irs says the so-called veterans charity was a fraud. investigators say they found evidence of nearly $6 million in what appeared to be actual charitable donations to veterans, $6 million, but that is only about 2% of the nearly $300 million raised supposedly for veterans during that time. investigators chasing the other 98% of the money found that the group instead lavished millions of dollars on charity readers spending on boats and beach front condos and maseratis and porches.
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they seized accounts containing almost $65 million in cash as well as sports cars and other property. since the raid a week ago, this supposed charity for veterans appeared to have gone poof. headquarters of the group described our reporters sitting empty. phone calls to the organization just ringing off the ether net. 57 people get arrested and then you can't find that group anymore. the press in florida is reporting that part two of the investigation will be looking into the group's extensive political donations. already, florida's republican party say they plan to give $300,000 to real veterans causes. to try to make good on the money they took from this scheme. several dozen alleged arrested. in florida at least for now, this alleged scam is over. the boss's mug shot is on tv. the cars are with the proper authorities and good luck to any
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real veterans who did think they could depend on this group that promised to help them. florida's lieutenant governor has done precisely one interview since resigning in this scandal last week. she did an interview with "the new york times" in which she said quote, i believe i did a fantastic job. two years ago on this show, we covered the case of bobby thompson. he also ran a purported charity for veterans. this, i think, really was an early version of their website. the bobby thompson website. come on, right? fake bobby thompson and his charity, i guess, claim to have chapters in dozens of states all serving veterans. they raised money by calling up
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regular people on the phone and asking for money. supposedly, they wanted to help navy veterans in particular. he also was in florida. they found his supposed national headquarters as well as most of his state chapters were just one rented mailbox at a ups store. just like the charity that got raided in florida last week, bobby thompson covered up to all manner of political leaders from president bush to ken cuchinelly. once he got found out, they all tried the shake that money off themselves like it have a pack of fleas and when the press exposed him for appearing to take money for veterans, he split. he was a fugitive. he ran for two years when he finally got caught was in portland, oregon. he's now been extradited to ohio.
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he is slated to stand trial there next month under his real name. john donald cody. of course, on our civilian desire to do something for them. before you go thinking this is just some weirdness that keeps crawling up out of florida, consider the last couple of years the news out of wisconsin. before scott walker became governor, his last job was being county executive in milwaukee. in milwaukee, he helped organize a local effort for veterans. an annual picnic at the milwaukee zoo. when scott walker made his decision of who to hand that work off to, he made a decision to hand that work off to others, he made bad decisions. the guy on the right was sentenced to a couple of years in prison for stealing $51,000
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in money meant to go to veterans and their family. the other guy got the -- for the thousands of dollars that he stole. money again that was supposed to go to veterans. that one was there to be stolen because americans gave that money as a way of saying thank you, we appreciate you. we are glad you are back. saying that to the men and women willing to fight for this country. if asked to do so. however you feel about the wars our country has fought in our lifetimes, our our grandparents lifetime, the idea of welcome home. we want to do right by our veterans. we want to make sure when they are promised things, those promises with kept. when so help me god, the low life drifters among us decide to exploit the way we feel. when they undertake to tap that
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feeling in us and then divert it so veterans do not actually get helped, really what we need in those cases is a special place in hell so we can cram those people in there. well, look at this. news today. on the tenth anniversary of the invasion of iraq. one of the things we do as a country as policy is we offer grants to the children of service members who were killed in action. so, these kids lose a parent in the war, they can have help from the u.s. government to go to college. only now, those grants are being cut by more than a third. here you go, kid. sorry about your mom, your dad, go study up on the sequester. last week, the army announced it was suspended new grants for tuition assistance for soldiers themselves. again, the sequester. and a situation where troops returning from war are forced to wait in a very, very, very long line for the benefits we owed them. the benefits we promised them and for which they are eligible.
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nearly 900,000 veterans waiting right now just to hear back from the veterans administration. the average wait to hear back now is nine months. it's even longer if you have just come back from iraq or afghanistan. with so many veterans now able to come home, we have not done what we need to do in order to accommodate them, so the wait times are getting longer and not shorts. wait times and cuts to college grants, they're not a scam like the thing rick scott's lieutenant governor was tied up in. there's no one profiting from this national embarrassment themselves, but our strong feelings about doing right by veterans, by the kids of our soldiers killed in afghanistan, those feelings are being diverted. the programs are there. they're the basis for the promises that we believe we are making to people who signed up to serve, but then the veterans are not actually getting help. we are still made to feel we are doing right on account of all the ribbons and callouts to
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returning troops and the airline commercials, step aside so the soldiers can go first. as proof that we are actually doing right by veterans, then you and i are scamming ourselves as much as those drifters scan their marks and there ought to be a special place in hell for messing that up. tammy duckworth of illinois, an iraq war veteran, lost both legs while serving in iraq. later served as secretary at the v.a., it's great to have you here. thanks for being here. >> it's great to be on. thanks for having me. >> you can probably hear me getting all riled up, being pissed about people taking advantage of our veterans when we're not getting what we promised them. being a veteran yourself, now in
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congress, how do you feel? >> i think we could be doing so much better, rachel. i do think we're going better for iraq and afghanistan than we did for vietnam veterans, but that was a pretty low bar. we have over 2 million veterans and we're not live willing up to the promises we've made of them. we can do better. we're not providing the jobs that we need to give to them. we're not helping them with housing, sequestration is going to cut homeless programs. i think we've done better than we have in a long time. we've got a long way to go. >> on the issue of the sequester and on the issue of the va backlog, you served for a long time. do you feel those are issues on which congress has a way forward?
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where congress could do more to make those problems right or are those problems so complicated that congressional action isn't the best way forward? >> on the backlog, i don't think it's a congressional issue. the problem is, they're getting more new ones that it's taking them twice as long. the va has talked for years about the use of electronic records and the handoff of troops on dod to va, that still hasn't happened. it's better off than where it was, but still not where it needs to be and now, we have the dod that has because of the sequestration has decided they're going to end their portion of the software program that would allow them to do that seamless transition, to whatever gains we've made is now going away because sequestration.
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>> the educational grant for service member's children, killed in the wars, the tuition assistance to service members now in terms of their own education, those things getting cut are directly because of the sequester. do you think they should be fixed even if the rest of the sequester shouldn't be fixed? even if we can't fix everything else? >> the letter to the secretary to ask him to please fix this issue with the tuition regardless on where sequestration is. >> it is ten years today from the date that we innovated iraq and you and i have talked a number of times, politics in the iraq war and there's a real distance between those of white house didn't fight and those who did and sacrificed so much.
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ten years out, what do you think the lessons are we still need to learn as a country? >> i think the lesson with we need to learn is real questioning of information that's being given to you. i feel very strongly that in the run up to iraq, not only were the american people lied to, that the members of congress were lied to. i think a lot of members of congress voted for the war because they were being threatened and had their patriotism threatened. if you wanted to know what was going to be happening. i think we are in a better place now than then. i hope as we talk about iran and syria and other places where people want to just push american troops on to the ground, that we have a real honest discussion and you know, i've said this to you before, it's one of the reasons why i ran for congress because i'm going to be here, along with my
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fellow veterans, to say we're going to have a real discussion. over 4,000 troops who have laid down their lives to this nation. tens of thousands wounded, and we will be caring for our veterans for the next 60 years. that's going to cost this country by 2020, that's seven years from now, $8 billion a year just for the iraq and afghanistan veterans. it is a cost this nation is willing to bear, but let's have a true understanding of what war really costs this nation. >> tammy duckworth of illinois, thank you so much for your time. it's nice to see you tonight in particular. >> thank you. >> all right. coming up later in the show, one of the things that has happened on this tenth anniversary of the iraq war is that we have seen the rehabilitation of a lot of people who got us into the iraq war in the first place.
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there's a little history being spun by them to make you not think badly about the decision that started that war in iraq ten years ago tonight. it's coming up. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. for tapping into a wealth of experience. for access to one of the top wealth management firms in the country. for a team of financial professionals who provide customized solutions. for all of your wealth management and retirement goals, discover how pnc wealth management can help you achieve. visit to find out more.
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the assault weapons ban brought back. a ban like that was in effect in this country from 1994 to 2004, but in 2004, president bush and the republican congress let it expire. a majority of the country, 57% of the country overall, 59% of registered voters now say they want to bring that assault weapons ban back. but the democrats in congress announced they would not even try to do that. the bill's sponsor, dianne feinstein today said she was told her assault weapons bill will be dropped by the senate democrats when they move their package on to the senate floor for a vote. now, if this seems weird or inconsistent, you're right. it is a little weird and inconsistent. the initial strategy of the democrats on gun issues was to move everything a la carte, so maybe you don't like the ban, but that shouldn't stop you for
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voting for an increase or background bill. so if you object to one part, you can still support the rest of it. that was the strategy at first. the strategy at the committee level, but now that they are past the committee level and on to the next step apparently, a la carte is over and the one bill will not include the ban. so you can fire dozens of rounds. senate democrats are not even going to try. what will be in the bill is still an unanswered question. but democrats aren't going to try for a limit on extended magazines. what about background checks? the group mayors against illegal guns released this ad today to try to keep the pressure on that issue.
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>> i spent 35 years protecting families. i've been shot. i've known good friends in the line of duty. >> we need them now. >> i buy guns. >> i love going to the range. >> and background checks won't change that. >> they'll keep criminals. >> child molesters. >> people who suffer from mental illness. >> from getting guns. >> and help us protect you. >> call congress. >> tell them we demand action on background checks now. >> as of right now, it is up in the air whether background checks are going to make it into the senate democrats guns bill. we already know a ban and the extended ban are not going to make it into that bill. the sponsor, chuck schumer, has been trying to get an ira friendly republican to join it. for context, understanding how far apart the congress is right now from the will of the people,
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consider that if you ask americans what they think of background checks, universal background checks are more popular than capitalism. than vacations. more than 90% of americans support background checks, but so far for republican senators, that 90% plus approval among the american people has not been enough to outweight the disapproval of the gun lobby. april 8th will be 115 days since newtown. long enough that americans won't notice that congress is responding to newtown with something like the back of its hand and a -- the vast majority of the american public, they're counting on the other side caving. we shall see. all right that's a fifth-floor problem...
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president obama appointed the first supreme court justice who is latino. she is a puerto rican decent. president obama also appointed the nation's first ever secretary of labor. hilda solis was born and raised
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in -- before president obama brought her up to the cabinet. president obama has nominated her replacement at the department of labor and he is tom perez. born and raised in buffalo, new york, to parents who were first generation immigrants from the dominican republic. he was secretary of labor in the state of maryland. he has led the civil rights division as assistant attorney general and on the same morning that president obama announced tom perez as his nominee, yesterday morning, at the same time, the republican party announced the results of its own self-autopsy. the chairman convened a task force on why they lost so badly. if you want to boil down what they found, it's this. they need to stop alienating and insulting everybody not in the party already. then you can have an outreach program in place to persuade people not in the party to join
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the party. the party will fund a program to minorities to the tune of $10 million, and the republicans are stressing that this whole effort can't be for show. quote, if we want voters to support minorities, we have to seem like we mean it. kind of see the line of thought there, right? for the republicans? they don't want to change their policies on anything, but they want to seem nicer. they want to seem more welcoming. just as the party is acknowledging missteps in talking about women, things like the whole legitimate rape fiasco, the party has to be a little shy about how it has behaved in public about latinos. and republican newt gingrich responded by calling her a racist. rush limbaugh said it was like
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nominating a clansman for the court. said that the judge just isn't very smart. >> i'm not really certain how intellectually strong she would be. she has not been very strong on the second circuit. >> republicans must realize the way they treated the nomination probably did not -- they know this kind of thing isn't possible. they know they need to stop eliminating -- they now know they need to convince the vote or they will never be a national party again. on the same morning, the republican party unveiled the
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document on -- this is a test. so as not to appall latinos. can they do it? >> obama has just nominated a replacement for hilda solis and the what is it, the department -- can i tell you who this guy is? tom perez and he may as well be hugo chavez. >> no! really? pick any other tyrannical dictator. there are so many to choose from. the nominee for conservative politics, malkin says he is not actually the nominee for secretary of labor, he is the nominee for secretary of illegal
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alien labor. so, republican party's big reboot at respected latinos isn't off to a great start. to be fair though, mr. limbaugh and malkin are conservative commentators. then there's senator rand paul from kentucky. today, he spoke in washington, d.c. and on his way there, he apparently stopped off at the hispanic voter stereotype shop. >> republicans have been losing both respect and votes of a group of people who already identify with many of our beliefs and family and faith and conservative values. hispanics should be a sizable part of the republican base, that should resinate with latinos. >> should they? why do you think that?
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you know, if you actually look at the data, more than half of all hispanics think gay people should be allowed to marry, so your stereotypes about what latino voters think, hey, turns out they're wrong. also, they're stereotypes. also, there's this. >> there's a hilarious episode on seinfeld, any seinfeld fans? where jerry admits he loves asian women, but says is it racist to like a certain race? >> don't, don't, don't. >> so, it is with trepidation that i'd like to express my admiration for the romance of the culture. >> back to the drawing board, reince priebus. no, no, no, no, no. steve kornacki joins us next. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health
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"up" is not going anywhere. we'll have the announcement in the coming days about who the new host will be occupying this seat at the table. >> that announcement has now happened. the person who will be occupying that seat on weekend mornings is steve kornacki. congratulations. >> thank you. it would not be possible. i appreciate it. >> absolutely take full responsibility. i don't know what i did, but i'll take it. thinking about "up," do you know how you want to approach that show and how different it's going to be from the cycle? >> i'm going to need a much louder alarm clock. that's my first order of business. in the weekday, it's so of the moment.
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it is the news cycle and the weekend, it's the opportunity to really go deep and i like obscure references to the camera in the 1960s. >> are you going to maintain what chris has done? >> yes. and i was talk about this today, but i saw in the last week, the guests for "up" on the whole are much more diverse than on any other show. >> and rapidly. >> thinking of political science and with the republican party finding itself in sort of a coincidental temporal box yesterday, president obama nominating the first hispanic in tom perez and the autopsy about what went wrong in the last election. obviously, they don't like top
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perez as nominee. mostly for his politics. >> the basic problem the republican party has had when it's come to nonwhite voters, this is sort of at the root of it. you can go back, if you look at the message that was in this autopsy report, all about inclusion, respect, outreach, you can find repeated by past chairman, presidential nominees, major congressional leaders going back to the 1960s and '70s. the critical moment and modern evolution in terms of its relationships with voters, it was 1964. now they're getting into
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territory where the same thing is almost happening with latinos. they do slightly better, but are sort of permanently about 25%. so the most glaring problem here, we have rhetoric about immigration when it's somebody like perez. there's some rhetorical problems, but a deeper problem and that is that the republican party is sort of on the right side of a cultural divide for 20 years. it could afford to write off the latino vote, the african-american vote and could still win elections. and now the republican party is basically on the losing side of that. but it's not just how you talk, it's about the basic attitudes of the obama coalition.
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the attitudes about government, the social safety net are not in line with where the republican party is and the republican party is going to have to embrace some kind of vision that is in line with these voters but they risk alienating the base they have. >> that distinction between policy and politics, thinking they can change the policy, they can change the politics without the policies that underlie these realities, to me is demonstrated today by rand paul, the savvy new, very high profile republican senator who is obviously running for president and wants to capture the energy getting up there and saying totally untrue, to be sure -- on social issues. on marriage and on abortion, the two things he referenced without data.
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>> basically, the republican strategy when they talked about the vote in the past has been oh, well, they're naturally conservative. >> don't they go to church a lot? >> it's a culturally conservative and then now more recently, immigration. the one policy point this really addressed was immigration. it remains to be scene how far the republican party's going to be made to go, but fine, you've addressed immigration. you still have this basic problem where you're perceived as the party slanted towards the super wealthy. and these are the issues that ron brownstein's term is the coalition of the acsendent. this is the heart of the obama coalition. and they care about these issues and the republican party hasn't said anything about them. >> you will know that the
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republican party is moving along when they start to say if we are against health reform, that's going the hurt us with latino voters. as long as they thinkit's about catholic doctrine and immigration, then we're going to have rand paul quoting in bad spanish. thank you very much and con congratulations. which i'm assuming the all for my birthday. also, today was election day. that's next. [ male announcer ] i've seen incredible things. otherworldly things. but there are some things i've never seen before. this ge jet engine can understand 5,000 data samples per second. which is good for business. because planes use less fuel, spend less time on the ground and more time in the air. suddenly, faraway places don't seem so...far away. ♪
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a news update. as promised, today was election day in south carolina. polls closed as of roughly three hours ago. it's the special election to fill the tim scott congressional seat. tim scott is now a senator. they moved him up when jim demint resigned. it left the seat open and today was the primary to figure out who was going to get to return for it. one of the republican candidates is mark sanford and he has appeared to clear his first hurdle for a return to politics.
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maybe. with 99% reporting in south carolina, governor mark sanford is leading the appalacian trail by 30%, however, he needed to get over 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. now, looks like there will be a runoff and that will happen on april 2nd. the democrat in the race will be elizabeth colbert busch. yes, she is steven colbert's sister and won easily. she cleared the 50% hurdle and then some. she will be in the general election. that's your update on election day today. but we will be right back. the only thing we'd ever grown together was a record collection. no. there was that fuzzy stuff on the gouda. [ both ] ugh! when it came to our plants... we were so confused. how much is too much water? too little?
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it always comes across as hokey, right? the tenth anniversary of the invasion of iraq is not just a commemoration for history sake, it is also its own current present day fight over how this story will be written down in history. it is contested ground in part because so many of the people that were wrong about iraq in the first place, people that caused that disaster, people that were factually wrong about it are still around in our politics and don't want to be remembered as the architects of disaster, as people who lied or were wrong about something so grave. the fact that they are still around to whitewash their bios and revise their history becomes a part of our history. it means thus far in the first ten years, the iraq disaster has thus far not been viewed as a big enough deal in politics. the people that caused it are embarrassed for a lifetime, never asked to come back into discussions on this topic or
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anything like this. >> do you believe the people of iraq or large number will us as liberator? >> i do. >> i believe the success will be fairly easy. >> john mccain not the only guy who was wrong. as a note, today on the tenth anniversary of the war that john mccain was so blatantly, obviously, horribly wrong about, american enterprise institute invited back for discussion on iraq ten years later, john mccain. hey, you were terribly wrong about this very important thing. ten years later we thought we could come back to you for more. yeah. the american enterprise website is worth looking at in terms of the way they commemorate that tenth anniversary. the big splash page is five myths about iraq, ten years after its start, iraq war opponents still don't
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acknowledge its merits. john bolten breaks it down. they caution iraq should be remembered without rewriting history because it definitely wasn't a mistake. their expert consultant on the vital moral and strategic questions from the iraq war is the guy that organized it, paul wolfowitz. on the occasion of the tenth anniversary, i didn't expect it to be this overt, but the republican establishment is in full pr mode to try to make it seem like the war in iraq thing was actually a great idea and not the worst foreign policy disaster in maybe a century. there's paul wolfowitz defending it over the weekend, and michael o'hanlon. and donald rumsfeld saying ten years ago began the long difficult work of liberating 25
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million iraqis, all who played a roll in history deserve our respect and appreciation. the nerviest thing is that he has the gall to use the word history and saying it was all about liberating the iraqi people. they're trying to do it. they're using the tenth year anniversary of the war to make you believe it didn't happen the way it happened. to try to make you believe it was all about liberating the iraqi people from the tyrant. they want you to believe what they proposed to the american people ten, eleven years ago, go liberate them from a tyrant. the american said we should, and we went and were greeted as lib liberators, we knew it would take eight and a half years and cost millions and lose many people. they say it was hard but that difficult liberate work is what we signed up for and has to be
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remembered as the history of that war. that's not the history of that war. there's not a memory hole deep enough or wide enough to make us forget the real history of what happened. it is not that long ago you're not caught on tape. >> no terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of saddam hussein in iraq. >> we have what we consider to be credible evidence that al qaeda leaders sought contacts in iraq who could help them acquire weapons of mass destruction capabilities. >> do you have hard evidence they're in iraq? >> oh, there's no question but that al qaeda have moved through and some have stayed. >> and that's not just an assumption, we know that? >> i know that. >> if someone is waiting for a so-called smoking gun, it is certain that we will have waited too long. >> what do you make of the